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“The second largest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre!”
Cover Photo: Chateau de Chantilly, France
Last Sunday was memorable. My friend and I drove all the way to Chantilly to visit the Domaine, and, oh, was it worth it!
The Domaine de Chantilly is a gem in France’s royal cultural heritage, not only for its massive dimensions but also for the quality and quantity of displays and activities. The Domaine, in fact, hosts a Chateau, with large galleries and suites and the oh-so-amazing Reading Room, which is the “cherry on the cake” and my favorite thing in the Chateau. Other things to be found: the Great Stables, the largest in Europe, which hosts different shows and a museum; the widespread gardens; the Potager des Princes.
Who was the Master of all this beauty, you may ask? Well, it was Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, son of the last King of France (Louis-Philippe); he is considered the greatest collector of his time and made the town of Chantilly a “museum” of all his possessions, both manuscripts and paintings.
What is interesting is that, through the centuries, the Chateau is still the same. Not the position of one painting has changed, being, instead, as it was when the Duke of Aumale bequeathed it to the Institut de France in 1886.
Now, this is the way to take a journey back in time and feel the feels of a prince!
And now, back to my favorite part of the Chateau: the Reading Room.
It is known that the Duke of Aumale devoted his entire life to two passions: books and fine art. As I learned on the website, the Reading Room was designed by architect Honoré Daumet at the end of the 19th century to house the Duke’s rare book collection – about 60,000 volumes are contained in the Chantilly collection and almost 19,000 volumes are exhibited in the Reading Room!
If there was one reason you should visit the Chateau de Chantilly is definitely the Reading Room.
After the Chateau we went on to see the Great Stables, a masterpiece of the 18th century which, for over 30 years, have been offering to the public equestrian shows and demonstrations related to horse training. A really fun thing to do, especially with children! A mix of “poetry, acrobatics and humour”, as stated on the website.
As a museum lover, I obviously embraced le Musée du Cheval (the Museum of the Horse), which presents the relationship between men and horses from ancient times. Bright displays and interesting facts fill up the exhibition spaces.
What else? We didn’t have time to see everything! We will definitely be going back to the Domaine de Chantilly as we still have to wonder through the wonderful gardens and visit the Potager des Princes.
To learn more about the Domaine de Chantilly, please check out the website.